Hawaii is intimately connected to surfing. As the place of its invention, the tradition of riding a wave on top of a board is deeply ingrained in the history of the state.
This spiritual link to the sport may be enough to draw you to Hawaii to fulfill all of your surfing desires.
Though, when you also consider the warm, turquoise waters which swell and curl into a variety of waves, offering something for all kinds of surfers, coupled with the picturesque beaches and gorgeous scenery, Hawaii appears to be a truly unrivaled surfing destination.
Surf camps are an ideal way to experience Hawaii and its surfing tradition.
With on-hand, well-trained instructors who know Hawaii and its surrounding ocean well, you’ll be able to really lean into the sport without any extra stresses or concerns.
Surf camps in Hawaii also offer an extensive range of experiences, from surfing instruction to yoga to hiking and often provide accommodation close to the beach.
Hawaii’s surf camps are varied in the services they offer, meaning that there is likely an option for beginners and advanced surfers.
However, finding a surf camp can be tricky:
- If you’re a total beginner hoping to learn something new, the surfer-jargon combined with the number of different surfing destinations in Hawaii, each with their own draw, might seem overwhelming.
- On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned surfer looking to refine your skills, it can be difficult to find a camp that can provide you with the advanced training you require.
Going on a surfing holiday should be a carefree experience, however, searching for the right camp for you can be particularly challenging.
To help combat this challenge, we have hand-selected five of the best surf camps in Hawaii.
Each one has its own unique attractions and charm which are discussed in-depth, to make sure that you are able to pick the right one for your needs.
Below each description is a handy summary, which briefly highlights the need-to-knows for each surf camp.
Following, we’ve constructed a list of things to consider before booking your idyllic Hawaiian getaway, so that you can feel more confident in your choices.
This surf camp is situated on the North Shore of Oahu.
This is ideal for those who want to experience one of the most renowned surfing spots in the world.
If you decide to visit in the winter months, you will be able to experience some of the most consistently spectacular waves, thanks to the giant swells generated in the North Pacific.
As a bonus, in the winter months, you will be a stone’s throw away from some of the world’s most distinguished surfing competitions, such as the Hawaiian Triple Crown.
However, this doesn’t mean that the surf camp is only tailored to experienced surfers. Their daily lessons, offered in both English and Portuguese, are offered to surfers of all levels.
They will expose you to some of the most incredible surf spots in the world, though always with your prior surf experience in mind.
A shared house is offered as accommodation, wherein guests can choose to stay in a shared or private room. You’re able to stay for a minimum of two nights, and a maximum of two weeks.
Finally, with this package, you don’t need to stress over your transfer to Oahu, or any of your meals, as these are all included in their rate.
If you would prefer not to surf, you also have the option of paddleboard lessons!
- On North Shore of Oahu.
- Good for all surfing abilities.
- Shared house accommodation (private rooms available).
- Transfer to Oahu and meals included in the rate.
- Paddleboarding is available.
For those of you who are looking for an action-packed surf camp, Maui Sports Adventures have got you covered.
Their champion athlete instructors offer private surf and stand-up paddleboarding lessons.
The one-to-one lessons mean that, regardless of your surfing ability, you will be given the time and thought required to help you achieve your goals.
If that isn’t enough, other activities such as fishing, hiking, windsurfing, and diving are available to you.
What stands out about this surf school, is the way they focus on ocean education. They prioritize not only showing you the best surf spots in the area but also ensuring you understand how the currents and tides work.
This focus on safety and understanding the ocean makes this surf camp an ideal choice for those hoping to learn more about, and feel more connected to, the sport as a whole.
The private lessons, board hire, daily breakfast, a farewell dinner, and accommodation are included within the rates. The accommodation is a private bungalow, shared with up to three others, and furnished with a hot tub and air-conditioning.
For an additional cost, the team offers stand-up paddleboarding tours, reef tours, and turtle watching.
Situated on Maui, an island that boasts the most beginner-friendly surf camps, Maui Sports Adventures is the ideal place to learn a new skill from scratch whilst being surrounded by beautiful scenery.
The team at Maui Sports Adventures hopes to truly enrich your Maui experience.
- On Maui.
- Private surf and stand-up paddleboarding lessons are included.
- For all surfing abilities.
- Many other outdoor activities are available.
- Focus on ocean education.
- Private bungalow accommodation included.
- Board hire, breakfast, farewell dinner included.
Surfing is often perceived as a male-dominated sport, which can be off-putting for many women.
However, for the women out there who desperately want to learn to surf or hone their surfing skills, but would like to avoid being surrounded by the male, surfer-dude stereotype, SwellWomen Surf and Yoga Vacations are ideal.
They have been a pioneer in women-only surf and well-being camps since 2003, and focus on empowerment, support, friendship, confidence, and inspiration.
They are focused on helping first-time, and intermediate-level surfers learn via morning surf lessons and recreational surf sessions throughout the week.
Situated on Maui, these surf camps are also focused on wellness. Yoga classes and massage sessions are included in each package, with additional spa services available throughout your stay.
You will be staying in a 1950s Hawaiian-style villa, with an on-site yoga studio and pool, just steps from the beach.
From the villa, you can view the Maui west side mountains, and can expect the sound of the waves to greet you each morning.
This surf package is perfect for women hoping to come away feeling a renewed sense of enjoyment for life, family, and their career, and having learned a fun new skill!
- On Maui.
- Primarily for women.
- For beginners, and intermediate-level surfers.
- Yoga and spa services are available.
- Accommodation in a villa close to the beach is included.
If you’re looking for an inclusive, family-friendly surf camp, North Shore Surf Girls provide the answer!
They offer a female-led surf camp, available to those of all ages and levels.
The professional instructors not only provide surfing lessons that build confidence and technique but also focus on involving you in local life.
Offering a 7-day surf course wherein you explore fun but safe surf spots, they hope you come away feeling like a more confident surfer, as well as a part of the community.
Accommodation in a local hotel, breakfast, and airport transfer are all included in the rate. They also include the hire of a top-quality Surftech surfboard, a leash, and Lycra rash guards.
Situated amongst a wealth of natural beauty, the team encourages you to go hiking, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, and attend yoga classes, to ensure you’re truly immersing yourself during your stay.
For those of you hoping to take children with you on your break, North Shore Surf Girls offer the perfect opportunity to do so.
- On the North Shore of Oahu.
- Female-led classes.
- For all ages and levels.
- Accommodation in a local hotel included.
- Board and kit hire included.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Hawaiian Surf School, run by former surfing-pro Ken Bradshaw.
Bradshaw, well known for riding 45-foot waves, is one of the few professional surf coaches with multiple world champion experience. Though he has coached all over the world, Bradshaw has a close affinity with the North Shore of Oahu.
He has an intimate knowledge of the surf conditions and the necessary strategy and equipment needed to excel in this prime location.
The ultimate goal of the Hawaiian Surf School is to foster a thorough knowledge of waves and ocean skills that will improve your relationship to the ocean and your surfing skills, no matter how experienced you are.
During surf lessons, which are open to all abilities, there is a maximum of 3 students to every instructor, to ensure everyone gets the most they can out of the camp.
Bradshaw emphasizes the camp’s focus on personalized sessions, ensuring that regardless of previous ability, your surfing skills will be elevated during your time at the Hawaiian Surf School.
The camp is an all-inclusive package, including transportation, hotel accommodation, breakfast, board rentals, bike rentals, lessons, and guided tours!
These camps are specially designed to ensure all of your needs are met so that you can properly enjoy a stress-free break and truly focus on honing your surfing skills!
- On the North Shore of Oahu.
- Run by a professional surfer.
- For all abilities.
- Rate is all-inclusive.
- Focus on knowledge of the ocean.
Things To Consider
Rushing into booking a place at a particular surf camp may not end too well.
There are a number of factors to keep in mind whilst you’re searching, to ensure that you will get the most appropriate and enjoyable experience for you.
We have constructed a list of things to consider before booking a Hawaiian surf camp, to make your search easier and less stressful!
Your Surfing Experience
Whether you’re a beginner or advanced surfer, it is integral that you find a surf camp that can cater to your needs.
The last thing you want is to fly to Hawaii and be unable to partake in activities or be mind-numbingly bored by the level of surfing available to you.
To avoid a disappointing holiday, write a list of the things you want help with at the surf camp, and check to see if your preferred surf camps are offering those services. If those details aren’t readily available, send an email!
What You Want From A Holiday
Surf camps aren’t all necessarily just what they say on the tin. Some will solely focus on surfing, such as the Hawaiian Surf School above.
Others, however, will offer a range of services, from extreme sports to yoga classes.
Again, to ensure you are making the best decision, you should compile a list of activities you’re hoping to engage in during your holiday.
If you can’t find a specific activity, there is no harm in reaching out to your preferred surf camps to see if they can accommodate you!
How Do You Learn Best?
The ultimate goal when attending a surf camp is to learn new skills. Therefore, how you learn best is an important element to consider.
- Do you mind learning in larger groups or would you prefer one-to-one sessions?
- Are you comfortable with a male or female instructor?
- Do you find it necessary to be taught by competitive-level surfers?
- Do you like a strict timetable or would you prefer a looser schedule?
Consider each of these questions, and try to find a surf camp that can accommodate your style of learning.
If you think you might require extra support, you should reach out to surf camps to find out whether they can provide that service.
Who Will You Be Going With?
In order to make sure everyone you travel with has a good time, it’s important to consider the needs of your group.
If you’re traveling with family, make sure that there are amenities for children and your partner to enjoy nearby, if they aren’t quite surf-obsessed as you.
If you’re traveling with a group of friends, opting for a surf camp with group accommodation and an array of activities available is a good way to ensure everyone has a good time! Also, always look out for group discounts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need To Be Able To Surf To Attend A Surf Camp?
Generally, no. Most surf camps in Hawaii offer lessons for a wide range of abilities. All you need is a desire to learn!
Do I Need To Take My Own Surfboard?
Most surf camps provide all the kit you need whilst there. However, that is not to say that you cannot take your own board. If you would like to use your own equipment, you are usually more than welcome to do so!
If you’re not sure what to do, reach out to some surf schools to see how they can help.
Is Surfing Safe?
Under the supervision of experts, surfing is very safe. It does, of course, come with risks, and you will be fully briefed on those risks by experienced instructors.
It is important that you are a confident swimmer, are content to swim in the ocean, and are capable of following instructions from your teacher.
If you can do so, attending a surf camp will be a very safe experience.